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Foundation Venture Capital Group Invests in UMDNJ Company Working to Improve Leukemia Treatments
Date:3/23/2009

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., March 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Each year in the United States more than 138,000 people are diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma. These new cases account for 10 percent of the new total cancer cases in the U.S. per year. For several types of leukemia, the survival rate has not changed in the past 25 years.

That's why James M. Golubieski, president of Foundation Venture Capital Group, LLC, a New Jersey Health Foundation affiliate, is proud to announce that the company has made a $500,000 commitment to Actinobac Biomed Inc., a company developing a therapeutic agent targeting white leukemic blood cells for the treatment of hematological malignancies, including leukemia, myeloma and lymphoma.

"Based on current statistics, one can see there is a great need to introduce new therapies for patients suffering from hematologic malignancies," explained Dr. Scott Kachlany. "Our primary drug candidate, Leukotoxin, has shown significant success in laboratory and animal studies. With this investment from Foundation Venture Capital Group we look toward moving our research further at a more rapid pace."

Dr. Kachlany, founder of Actinobac Biomed and an associate professor of oral biology, microbiology and molecular genetics at UMDNJ-New Jersey Dental School, discovered the agent, Leukotoxin, during the course of his research at the dental school.

The research was originally funded with one-year matching grants from the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology and the Foundation of UMDNJ Annual Program Committee Awards.

Leukotoxin is a bacterial toxin that targets while blood cells. In laboratory studies, malignant white blood cells have been determined to be more sensitive to Leukotoxin than non-cancerous white blood cells. Animal studies in Dr. Kachlany's lab using mouse models for human leukemia have shown Leukotoxin to possess significant anti-leukemia activity. The company is also looking at Leukotoxin for use in autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

"While there are numerous drug candidates under development for treating various forms of leukemia, Dr. Kachlany's approach to utilizing Leukotoxin is one that we think could have significant benefits," explained George F. Heinrich, M.D., vice chair and CEO of Foundation Venture Capital Group.

Foundation Venture Capital Group was founded in 2006 to invest only in commercially viable new start-up companies developing technology at the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey. Since that time it has invested in three other UMDNJ companies including Longevica Pharmaceuticals, Inc. which is developing a chemoprotective agent that may keep normal cells healthy during cancer treatments; CellXplore, Inc., a company engaged in the development of biomarker-based in vitro diagnostic assays for cancer, initially focusing on breast cancer and Snowdon Pharmaceuticals, a drug discovery company focused on several major therapeutic areas.

For more information, contact James Golubieski, president of Foundation Venture Capital Group, at (732) 235-5400 or at jgolubieski@njhf.org.


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SOURCE Foundation Venture Capital Group, LLC
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